Sunday, September 18, 2005
Football not "Football"
Yesterday, Saturday, some our soldiers of HHC 1-3 BTB knocked off work in the motor pool and other places of duty to compete with the soldiers of Alpha Company, 17th Signal Battalion. They played in a bombed out soccer/football stadium. The late afternoon had cooled to the high 90s, and well trained referees were provided. This is part of a FOB-wide tournament. It was a good time. Some of the soldiers were suprisingly good. As might be expected, winning became the primary goal and not everyone who showed up was able to play. It whet my appetite for the college football games back in the states that would begin--for us--later that night.
Sports is a healthy metephor for, indeed expression of, humanity's inward struggle. Whether we are observers or participators--we enjoy sports. I think the primary purpose of sports is to teach what we like to call "sportsmanship": the manner in which one responds to victory AND defeat. For many reasons, most of them obvious, sports is highly relevent for today's soldier deployed to combat zones. We live through and aspire to be like our heroes. Our fathers and grandfathers who were deployed enjoyed hearing and reading the sports news, but few were able to enjoy it in the way modern technology allows. Satelite TV and the internet have helped transport our minds--whose bodies are trapped in an environment of dust, heat, and hostility--to the moist grassy fields of Fenway, the Big House, and Candlestick Park. These technologies have also kept us up to date on news (mostly bad) such as Hurricane Katrina and mind numbing tabloid gossip. But it is this same technology that allows us to maintain touch with our wives, husbands, families and friends in an unprecedented manner.
From mindight until about 0500 Sunday, a number of us stayed up through the night to watch college football. Having a team to call my own, allows me to associate with the part or parts of America I call home. The MWR (Morale Welfare & Recreation) center has a big screen TV with Satelite reception. We sat in an airconditioned room, on leather sofas and enjoyed the South Carolina vs. Alabama game. We also suffered throughClemson's loss to Miami in triple overtime and Notre Dame's overtime loss for the 5th consecutive year to Michigan State. I was unable to stay up for the Florida Tennessee game; I needed the 2 hours sleep before a day of preaching!